What Percent Of Hotel Guests Tip Housekeeping?

Whether or not it’s appropriate to tip hotel housekeeping can be a controversial topic.

On one side you have the people who don’t think it’s necessary. Generally their logic is that the hotel should be paying their housekeepers a fair wage, rather than trying to pass that cost on to the guests in such a direct way. Just as we don’t pay extra for towels, sheets, etc., we shouldn’t have to pay extra to have them cleaned. These are also people who generally hate the US tipping culture.

On the other side you have the people who do think it’s appropriate to tip housekeeping. These people generally view housekeepers the same as the’d view anyone else in the service industry. Just in the way you’d tip bellmen who help with bags or taxi drivers, you should also tip the person who cleans your room.

Personally I’m in the latter category, and frankly my opinion has changed over the years. I don’t judge others for not tipping housekeeping, but personally it’s something I try to do, because I think it’s the right thing to do. Do I like the US tipping culture? No, not really. Do I wish housekeepers were paid better wages so I wouldn’t feel compelled to tip? Absolutely. But I also know that these people work really hard and have a thankless job and deal with some disgusting things.

I believe in the “live and let live” ideology, so if I have cash on me, I always try to leave a few dollars per day for some of the hardest working people in a hotel. I’m fortunate that a few dollars won’t make a material difference in my financial situation, while I know it can go a long way for many of the people working in hotels. I also think that housekeepers get the short end of the straw of our tipping culture. Whether you like it or not, there’s an expectation that you tip a taxi driver just for doing their job without them providing any sort of extra “service” for you. So if they should get a tip for not going out of their way, those who work as hard as housekeepers should as well, in my opinion.

Over the years we’ve seen some initiatives from hotels to try and encourage people to tip, including from Marriott.

When Marriott first introduced envelopes I thought they were tacky, but then it also occurred to me that many people would tip housekeeping if they knew it was appreciated and/or were reminded of it. While some don’t tip on principle, I think others have the “out of sight, out of mind” approach, and don’t remember to do it, so it’s a good reminder. The envelopes also aren’t as direct as they used to be. When they were first introduced they said “feel free to leave a gratuity,” while now they say “it was my pleasure to host you.”

Anyway, the New York Times had an interesting article a few weeks ago entitled “Tipping May Be the Norm, but Not for Hotel Housekeepers.” It provides both sides of the hotel housekeeping tipping debate, and also provides some numbers. How much do hotel housekeepers make? As you’d expect, pay rates vary significantly based on the location:

Pay rates vary widely by region. Wage Watch, a company that tracks wage and salary information for the lodging and gambling industries, found that a housekeeper in a New York City hotel can expect to make an average of $29.41 an hour, while one in Charlotte, N.C., may earn an average of $10 an hour.

Nationally, housekeepers’ wages are comparable to desk clerks’, whose average hourly rate the Bureau of Labor Statistics tallies at $11.28. But desk clerk jobs don’t require the flipping of heavy mattresses or exposure to cleaning chemicals that can lead to respiratory and other health problems.

So, how often do people tip housekeepers? Apparently about 30% of the time, and that’s with a “nudge:”

Yet housekeepers say that, without the gentle nudge of initiatives like “The Envelope Please,” only about 30 percent of guests leave a tip — a figure Professor Blum found as well.

“Some days someone will leave $5; other days, they leave nothing,” Ms. Lemus said.

“Sometimes we get $2 or $3 in a room, and we get very happy,” Ms. Guerrero said. “It makes us feel like someone appreciated us.” But sometimes, several days pass without a tip.

Even though I’m all for tipping housekeeping, the major issue is that often I just don’t have the right change for tipping. I pay almost everything by credit card, and it’s rare that I have cash, let alone in the right denominations. So while I make an effort to have cash, sometimes I don’t, and then I feel guilty. One person quoted in the article makes a recommendation that I’d support wholeheartedly:

“Tipping etiquette experts have said for 20 years or more that you should tip hotel maids. But even I don’t do it all the time,” he said. “Half the time I don’t have the proper change in my pocket or I forget.”

“If hotels really wanted to institutionalize tipping, they could do it through electronic checkouts, or an app, or the TV, with a question like, ‘Would you like to leave a tip for your housekeeper?’” Professor Blum said. “We live in a tipping society. Even sandwich shops do that now. Why shouldn’t hotels do it?”

With hotels increasingly using technology for check-in and check-out, it seems like they could pretty easily implement a tipping functionality that would allow guests to add a tip by credit card. It doesn’t even have to be pushy. It could be similar to Starbucks or Uber, where the suggestion for a tip isn’t that forced or intrusive.

Where do you stand on tipping hotel housekeepers?

Comments

  1. I’m split. As a frequent business traveler (120~nights per year) its hard to justify several dollars a day out of my own pocket while traveling for work. During vacations and especially on cruises I’ll go out of my way to tip. On cruises especially the housekeeper always seems to be present and always checking in to see if you need anything.

  2. With the way hotels have been sneaking in more and more fees, the tips will become less and less. Also, with Go Green in SPG, there’s even less of a justification for leaving a tip. Just like a stewardess on a flight. They aren’t getting a tip.

  3. Thoughts on tipping when using green choice? I exclusively do green choice when traveling for work ~140 nights a year. Yes they have to clean the room before I get there and after I leave, but during my actual stay I’m not receiving the service.

  4. I tip $10/$15 after the first night. It often comes with great service for the stay and a few perks (extra bottles of water etc.). Also besides self interest, I can’t imagine that job is a blast, so I tip.

  5. @Andrew: If you are on business travel, seems like a tip to housekeeping would be a reimbursed expense, just like a tip on a meal or on a taxi, wouldn’t it? I know it is at my company. If not, I think you might want to have a chat with whomever manages your travel policy.

  6. I do my best to leave $5 – $10 per night. I wish these people would be paid a better wage–I would pay more to stay at a hotel that explicitly paid it’s staff better. Still, I’d probably leave a tip.

  7. I generally don’t have my room serviced while I am there, so don’t generally feel the need to tip (the room needs to be cleaned between guests, anyways).

    If I do choose to have the room serviced while I am staying, I’ll tip $10 per service.

  8. @andrew your company should expense that, it would be weird if they didn’t (as long as you were not excessive of course). I know our company does it for people who choose to tip.

  9. Involves cash, I’m out. If on check out there was an option to add a few dollars to the bill that was given to them as a tip I’d do it every time unless there was a problem with the service provided.

  10. $2-$3 per night, $5 if I don’t have change (and may leave only $1 the next night).

    $5 for a suite.

    Not having change most of the time is a lame excuse- you can always get change when you check in.

    If outside the US, I follow local custom.

    Maids work harder than the other occupations that get tips.

  11. I find tipping the most difficult thing when in US. For instance valet parking. do I tip when bringing the car of when picking it up? Or both times?

    Housekeeping is simple: I just leave a nice note and a few dollars each morning on the bed. Works Always.

  12. Let’s not spread the ridiculous tipping culture around. Tipping needs to end, and participating in the swindle hat is tipping culture is just reinforcing it. Fix the system, not the individual.

  13. @Bob,, I am curious, how do you prove the expense if tipping in cash and no receipt?

    Tipping is not just a cultural, employers can pay a tipped employee less than the regular minimum wage. it is just $2.13 as now! I think I have to pay a waiter even he/she did a mediocre job, sometimes even when I am really angry at the waiter who was unbelievable rude, I am still reluctant to not tip.

    However, does anyone knows if cleaning staff got the $2.13 minimum or the regular $7.25 minimum? That make a hell lot of difference.

  14. @KG – Or just foreigners. Remember, it’s only Americans who are supposed to conform to local cultural standards.

  15. I don’t tip. I’m already paying for a room at a full-service hotel and housekeeping is part of that service.

    Everyone wants a tip these days including the dry cleaners! NO!

  16. I’ll tip housekeeping on vacation at a nice resort where the service is special, but not at a Hampton Inn by the Interstate when I’m travelling on business.

  17. I’d like to add I never tip for anything that is self service, such as coffee to go at Starbucks. I only tip food and beverage servers if they wait on me at table.

  18. @KG,

    People who “use profanity to make a point” are uneducated and lazy to come up with another word. Let this “stingy _____” give you a TIP… Try using the dictionary.

  19. Many people do not understand the tip credit as utilized by US business owners of designated “tipped” employees – all employees receive the “true” minimum wage at first (at least $7.25 an hour), of which a credit is refunded back to the employer when an employee receives tips. The amount rebated back to the employer is up to a certain amount that results in the often referenced “$2.XX per hour for tipped employees.”

    The end result is that the practice is a win-win for employers (who get to externalize labor costs to a certain extent, albeit not completely) and to employees (who get to earn more than minimum wage, albeit they don’t receive the full amount of tips received).

    Employers would prefer to move to a 100% commission/tipped system to completely outsource their front-end labor costs, and employees would prefer that they receive both the “true” minimum wage AND 100% of all tips.

  20. Tipping culture is ridiculous in the US. We tip the waiters but not our cashiers. We tip the hair dresser but not the flight stewardess. We tip the bartender, but not our nurses or teachers. We tip our taxi driver but not our pilot. It’s also getting out of control. It use to be just for exceptional service and now its getting to the point its expected. Study after study has shown it doesn’t influence service, either. I work for a large hotel company and I almost never tip housekeepers. If they asked me at check-out and could easily expense on my credit card I’d consider it but I always try to use the “Go Green” option anyway and most of my stays are just one night anyway.

  21. I always tip at least $3 and up to $5 if they are taking special care of me (remembering to leave me extra coffee each day, for example, which I ALWAYS need). I don’t like the tipping culture either, but I’m a lucky person in that I’m not going to miss $3 to $5 per travel day, and I think hotel cleaners have a terrible job. As someone else said, I’d pay a bit more to stay in a hotel that paid their workers better wages.

  22. Here we go again!!!!!! Could we just stop posts about the tipping entitlement here in the US. That is why I always ask for the Green Choice at SPG so I don’t need housekeeping and I am not expected to tip them.

  23. The last company I worked for, changed the travel policy 3-4 years ago. Tipping housekeeping stopped being reimbursed.
    When traveling with my kids, I always tip, as they can be quite messy.

  24. When I managed and wrote business T&E policy, I included a tipping section with company guidelines for reimbursement of all tipped folks you may meet on a business trip.

    personally, I do tip generally $3-5/night because I know how tips add up on a minimum wage job (i worked to pay for college by waitressing and relied on tips)

    i found the biggest obstacle is getting cash as I rarely have any on me – I miss the bellman the other day as I zero cash

  25. Not having your room serviced during your stay is not a blanket excuse for skipping the tip. I’ve seen housekeeping emerge with lawn-sized bags of trash from rooms that had the DND sign on forever. If you are making the room harder to service because it hasn’t been cleaned in days, leaving a tip is just common courtesy.

  26. I tip ($5/night at any quality of hotel, with a nice note) because I’m fortunate enough to have extra money (I am staying in hotels on vacation, after all), and because I know how important tips are to service workers. I don’t like that it’s part of US culture, but I don’t want to take it out on individual employees.

    My (single) mother was a waitress her entire life, and I remember vividly how down she could get after a few bad shifts with stingy customers. Those few bad shifts made the difference between making ends meet or scrambling to pay the bills.

    (Here I go off on a tangent, but I’m feeling sentimental with the holidays upon us…) I broke my glasses in gym class in fourth grade, and I dreaded telling my mom because I knew she couldn’t afford a new pair. She was kind about it but visibly upset, because this happened right before my birthday, which meant money would be tight because she was also budgeting to buy presents for my sister and me (we’re twins, so our birthdays were doubly stressful for mom!).

    While waiting on a table of 8 older men (grandfather types), the topic of glasses somehow came up, and my mom mentioned my broken glasses to the group. They left her a $200 tip on a bill of about $100, and they later sent a special note to her manager saying how much they enjoyed her service. (Mom got a lot of those notes, and her manager was good about passing them along to her and rewarding her with time off when needed and desirable shifts.)

    My older sister was awake when my mother came home from work that night. Mom started crying (happy tears!) as soon as she told her the story. She was so relieved that she didn’t have to worry about the glasses or the birthday presents. My sister told me that story a few days later, and you can bet I took excellent care of those glasses! I outgrew them in a few years, but I still have them in one of my keepsake boxes.

    When I think about tipping, I think about my mother and those glasses!

  27. I tip. It’s reimbursable and housekeepers have a tough job and usually fewer alternatives. Every few months I go to the bank and get $100 in 1s and 100 in 5s. Chase has fancy new in branch ATMs that let you choose denominations which makes it even easier.

    I’m frankly surprised even 30% of people tip!

  28. I always feel conflicted about this too. I don’t usually tip every day, which I know isn’t fair if the housekeepers change from day to day. I suppose it would make more sense to tip the first night but I will be more often leave one tip the last instead. And I never really know what amount makes sense either. I really wish the hotels and every other service industry would just pay people a living wage instead of relying on us to figure out how to do it for them.

    I could usually get by with no housekeeping at all, frankly. I don’t mind re-using a bath towel and I don’t need fresh sheets every day. But I was just in SE Asia and I do like having a fresh supply of water each day…but given what a blight plastic bottles are on the world I wish there was a better way. Maybe they could give us a reusable bottle and have a central filtered water refilling station like Club Quarters does instead.

    I tend to tip more frequently when I am in a poor country which probably doesn’t make much sense either. I think the idea of having an option to leave some sort of tip that’s added to my bill at check out but then distribution would probably be a headache for everyone involved.

  29. I try to tip, especially in ‘countries in development’, where $1 (or the local equivalement) goes a long way.

  30. @Mike – I had that exact question and I asked a rep from UNITE HERE, given their work organizing on behalf of many workers in the hotel industry

    He said just leave the daily tip you would ordinarily give on a daily basis as a lump sum at the end. The logic is that with the Make a Green Choice stuff is that while they aren’t making your bed or cleaning the room every day, the trash, water stains, etc. still pile up so whoever cleans the room will still be doing a little more work than if it were a daily cleaning.

    As for the cash tip part and reimbursements, my employer explicitly has a carve out on receipts for cash tips recognizing it does happen.

  31. I generally tip if I’m happy with the cleanliness of the bathroom. I’ve stayed in some high cost hotels with nasty bathrooms. One case where I’m not inclined to tip generously is with my stylist who owns the salon. He gets $150 for 90 minutes of work and his card machine has two options – 15% and 20%. I always tip but not that high. And I also tip Uber drivers.

  32. I leave a tip on a daily basis, since the same person may not clean the room each day. If I don’t have singles, I go to the front desk to get change, although I make a concerted effort to get change in singles when I’m out during the day. I’ll leave $5 or more in big cities.

  33. I always try to leave a tip for housekeeping, usually $3-5 per day.

    I don’t like the social etiquette minefield that tipping has become, but that’s no excuse to take it out on those who have no ability to change it. It’s not like the housekeeping staff has a choice in the matter, and I’ve been through enough low-paying jobs to know how important a few extra dollars here and there are.

    I understand those who don’t tip because they come from countries where it is either much rarer or is not a practice in the first place, but I don’t buy the arguments from those who refuse to tip because they don’t like the system. That just hurts the workers who tend to need the most help to begin with and doesn’t say anything to the corporate managers who actually set wages and compensation.

  34. I have done like the Romans in Rome.

    Having said that, a tip can work wonders in other nations

    I remember tipping a German waiter $30.00 euros. Not much by American standards. His service was great.
    But the young man was so happy.

    Personally I hate to tip using coins.
    You tip for good service, it is a subjective reward to somebody who did a good job. And it is NOT OBLIGATORY.
    Lousy attitude deserves no tip. Kind of a punishment.

    Dont like to tip, Hey there is always McDonalds , Take Out , and 7 Eleven for people on strict budgets or backpackers.

    Now somebody with an extended bowl…. Seriously, cashiers should stop this.

  35. ps To visitors to USA.

    Sometimes a “NO Tip “ for lousy service feels soooo good.
    Leave 40 cents with a sarcastic note on the receipt.
    “Thank you for the lovely Dinner That Wasnt. Here, 40 cents as A reward for your effort”

  36. I usually tip between 5-10 dollars especially on the first night. I’d rather leave a good impression on the first day just in case.

    I heard a story from my cousin when she went back to her hotel room early one day to get something and the person was cleaning her room. She saw them in the bathroom using the glass drinking cup to get water from the toilet to clean the bathroom. I don’t know if this is the norm but I don’t use any cups or anything without at least rinsing it first.

    Ever since hearing that story, I try to tip more and not to piss off the person cleaning your room. You never know if they get annoyed enough to stick your toothbrush or anything else in the toilet.

    From then on, I always tend to get better service from the room attendant. Extra water, snacks, fruits, and even one time they folded all my clothes(In Hong Kong and Taiwan) in my luggage that I left open.

  37. Electronic tipping is something that needs to be figured out. As we are moving more and more to a cashless society, it’s harder to tip people like bellmen as well. Would be interesting if there could be a simple peer to peer anonymous application to transfer funds, that is very simple and no fuss. For example, if I wanted to tip a bellman $5, I could take out my phone and he could take out his and I could easily send $5 across with no specific registration, exchanging of names or any other personally identifiable information. Venmo, PayPal and a host of other services are there, but if I am not mistaken you have to at least share some information.

  38. Do not disturb sign goes on when I check in, and does not get removed until I check out.
    Problem solved.

    Also helps towards preventing anything going walkies from my room, as nobody should be in there at all, the unnecessary washing of towels/linens and wastage of half used toiletries, and the most annoying issue of all: sheets re-tucked under the mattress & the excessive number of pillows/cushions being put back on the bed.

    Downside: miss out on occasional chocolates from turndown services.

  39. I always try to leave a tip, unless the service is really bad or the service is already included.
    I know that many places in the world it is not expected, and some places it can be considered rude, but I do tip unless it is considered rude. Like Eric’s story, it can make a huge difference to many.
    I remember I was eating dinner at a restaurant in France, and left a modest tip. The waiter followed us out to the sidewalk, and thanked us with tears in his eyes. He said he had been working all day, and I was the first tip he had received (and the place had been packed all day). I think it made a difference to him.
    I have had that happen in quite a few places. They may not expect it as much outside the US, but people really appreciate it.

  40. I literally never have cash. I’m not categorically opposed to tipping them (although I think the hotel should just pay them) but I never have any cash to give. Furthermore, if I’m travelling on business my employer would pay the tip if I could put it on my folio, but I dont want to spend my own money on tipping . This is a matter of the hotels not trying because they know lots of people are like me in not carrying cash or having issues with expense reimbursement.

  41. I try to be sure I have change. $5 seems right and is usually highly appreciated. Not going to change my day, might change their’s.

  42. I tip $2 to $3 a night usually. However i’m MUCH LESS likely to tip when there is some card or envelope begging me to tip. I just starting tipping a few years ago and I can expense this out to my company but I still tip on personal travel as well. The way I look at it is that if the room was cleaned properly then I am thankful and this hardworking person likely makes $8 to $12 an hour or less in the USA. So a $2 to $3 tip seems about right. It’s personal for me.

  43. I think the tipping culture in the US also brings forth the waitstaff/driver/etc that are too enthusiastic in their service to get better tips from the customer.
    I’m dining in a restaurant for the food, not for the waitstaff to hover over me and ask every 10 minutes if I need anything. In this regard, I find Japan’s dining places to be on the right track. They have little buttons on the table where if you need something from the staff, it lights up your table number to call somebody over.

  44. @iv – Actually, people who use profanity frequently are some of the best educated. It’s not laziness, it’s a deliberate choice, because we like to play with language. One can swear quite creatively, if one likes, and invent whole new combinations, like “double dog rat fuck” or “crap ass jerkfaced donut hole”. Get the stick out of your ass!

  45. I always tip housekeeping at least $1 or $2 per night, unless they did a poor job cleaning. Agree with @Peggy to to tip nightly as different staff may clean on different nights.

    I left the cash on the bed at the Singapore JW Marriott one day and when I retuned the room was clean but cash was still on the bed. I asked housekeeping staff in the hallway and they said could not take any cash left on the bed – whoops. So I just left it on the night stand.

    These folks are often hard workers and are often underpaid. Its also good karma for the trip.

    I tip the maid service that cleans my 1100 square foot apartment $20.

    I shame friends and family who refuse to tip hotel housekeeping.

    @Jason – Touching story, thank you for sharing.

  46. @ Jerry “…even one time they folded all my clothes(In Hong Kong and Taiwan) in my luggage that I left open.” If that happened to me, I’d probably freak out and complain to the front desk (and after that I’d feel extremely guilty, and wondered whether I might’ve gotten someone in trouble.) I am not being mean, but I don’t think housekeeping should be touching anything in my suitcase, even if they meant well.

  47. I tip even if I do not have the room serviced during my stay. I just leave the amount I would have tipped daily as a lump sum on the last day in that scenario. Also, I have found the front desk has always been able to break my bills though I agree, I really wish they could figure out a way to allow us to tip electronically.

  48. Do you have a target wage you’re trying to ensure the housekeepers get? How do you adjust for different wages rates by city?

    For example, in Seattle, service industry workers can’t receive less than the State/City Min Wage, so does this mean you tip less in Seattle?

  49. I always leave a tip of $5, plus a nice note, each morning before leaving my room for the day. I will also endeavor to do little things like placing dirty towels in a tidy bundle and keeping my clothes off the floor; let’s face it, MANY people feel that acting like a filthy, lazy slob is a legitimate perk of staying in a hotel. And it’s the housekeeping staff that has to deal with it.

    Hotel housekeepers have a very difficult, demanding and, often times, demeaning job. I am grateful for their hard work.

    Though, I must say that I was once sternly lectured to by a grandmotherly Chinese housekeeper at the Hotel Monaco in San Francisco. She felt that I was tipping too much. She also disapproved of my choice of Chinese takeout; a couple of nights I had brought back to my room some dan dan noodles and dumplings. On my last night, I returned to my room and found a note from my lecturing housekeeper: “I made you GOOD dumplings! I put in mini fridge. Good to eat cold.”

  50. Seems a lot of people on here use the Green Service so they don’t feel they need to subsidise the criminal Hotel Owners that don’t pay their staff a fair wage for a fair day’s work. And they use the logic that housekeepers do a hard job so should be paid better, but don’t have many work choices.
    Well, by going green, all you’re doing is putting disadvantaged people out of work.
    A better way to go is to fight for people to be paid fairly in the US, and to never go green, because then the disadvantaged workers will at least get regular work to help care for their families.
    Stop supporting the employers ripping off staff and pushing their responsibilities onto their customers.

  51. I do, but always the equivalent of 1 USD. Then I always ask for extra water. Some times I get one extra bottler, some times double that is usually in the room. Always worth it.

  52. I generally don’t like tipping culture. BUT I try to tip well every time. As a kid I was a waiter and liked my tips when I worked hard. Lately I give the chambermaid about 2 bucks a day when the room hardly needs cleaning and 5 bucks a day when I have my kids with me and it does need a lot of cleaning. I usually write a short note of thanks and put money on the desk under the note (so they know for sure that the money is for them).

    Last week I was at a hotel that had an envelope for tips and requested that we drop it off at the front desk. I don’t trust that AT ALL. Instead I left it on the desk as usual.

  53. “Can someone please explain to me the difference between ‘tipping’ and ‘bribery’?”

    Bribery is before you get the “service”, tipping is after.

  54. @Lisa,

    A little out of context no? Stephen Fry is a comedian.

    So unless you are auditioning to be the next Kathy Griffin take a seat.

  55. Without getting involved in the tipping debate, I will say that I absolutely despise the tipping culture. Having said that, no service profession deserves tipping more than housekeeping, and I do tip them for the most part. I don’t tip housekeeping in Japan, Scandinavia, or other places where it’s not the norm.

    One thing to remember is that the same housekeeper(s) may not be assigned to your room throughout your stay, so if you are going to tip, do so daily so that each person who cleans the room will get it. Also, some hotels may treat money left on the table/desk as “lost property,” so it’s better to place money visibly and deliberately next to the pillow. I usually leave a note of thanks, so that there’s no ambiguity.

  56. Given the worldwide readership of your blog, Ben, I’d suggest that you make articles like this clearly about tipping culture in the US vs everywhere else. The US has a totally different system which I understand can be used to justify the need to tip people who are not paid a proper wage. That isn’t the case here in the UK, or in many other places in the world, so a tip in my country should just be for exceptional (rather than standard) service. Unfortunately over the past few years in the UK we seem to have gone from nominal tips, to 10%, to 12.5% to 15% being “standard” in some places.

  57. Happy to tip… if I can get money back when I find hair in the sink/tub/etc. When I find mold or mildew in the air vents, where do I file to get money back? (Doesn’t happen often, but in 100+ days a year in hotels in happens.)

    So no, I don’t tip unless I request something extra. I pay a lot extra to stay in nice hotels. I expect them to pay their people. And when I stay at resorts with a $30+ dollar ‘resort fee’ on top of $400+ a night, I think they can afford to pay their people correctly.

    By all means, raise the hotel rates to pay a fair wage. But, don’t put it on me.

  58. Special requests only, and that is extremely rare for me. I think the idea of tipping housekeeping is completely ridiculous. Not happening in my world.

  59. This irks me so much. I’m a 25% to 30% tipper at restaurants, $5 tipper for valet, $2 tipper for hailing a cab for me. But after I’ve spent $400+ for a hotel room, why must I pay to have my room cleaned?

    I understand how restaurants work, which is why I’m generous always, especially for excellent service.

    But really? $400 a night and you want me to subsidize your housekeeper’s income?

  60. $3 a day for cleaning staff is not that much and I was a waiter at one time so I know from experience that a top genrtally means better service.

  61. $3 a day for cleaning staff is not that much and I was a waiter at one time so I know from experience that a tip generally means better service.

  62. Chris, you said it for me.

    I always try to leave a tip for housekeeping, usually $3-5 per day.

    I don’t like the social etiquette minefield that tipping has become, but that’s no excuse to take it out on those who have no ability to change it. It’s not like the housekeeping staff has a choice in the matter, and I’ve been through enough low-paying jobs to know how important a few extra dollars here and there are.

    I understand those who don’t tip because they come from countries where it is either much rarer or is not a practice in the first place, but I don’t buy the arguments from those who refuse to tip because they don’t like the system. That just hurts the workers who tend to need the most help to begin with and doesn’t say anything to the corporate managers who actually set wages and compensation

  63. I tip$2 for a standard room, $5 for a suite each night. Before traveling, especially to Vegas, get a stack of $5’s. Each day the tip is placed on a note that says, “Thank you.” I tip every day, rather than at the beginning or end because it might be a different person providing service each day. On last day, also add all my loose change. And yep, almost every day I have extra water, soap, etc. waiting for me.

  64. When in Rome I do as the Romans do. I tip as appropriate when in the USA but consider it a detestable and demeaning practice. I must admit it never occurred to me to tip hotel cleaning staff; that should be covered in the tariff to allow the hotel to pay their staff appropriately, as happens in the rest of the world.

  65. Withholding tips is not going to change the tipping culture. Perhaps a mandatory minimum living wage would. Having been brought up in the service industry, I am a tipper.

  66. Hard to understand why someone will tip a doorman for hailing a cab that takes two minutes (who is often getting a kickback from cabbies for airport fares, at least on NYC) vs some doing hard labor in cleaning the room. Both are employees of the hotel.

    Seems like a lot of haters out here.

  67. i just got back from the Long Wharf Marriott and was delighted to be offered 500 points per night that I declined housekeeping. I relieved me (1) from feeling guilty for not tipping and (2) from seething at the idea that I am expected to supplement a property’s sorry wages.

  68. I tip in countries that expects it but I don’t like the tipping culture. It’s basically a tax on the consumer. Companies need to just man up and pay their employees a decent wage so that there is no more tipping. That tip is probably mostly not reported in taxes so we lose out on that too.
    Its infuriating how many companies I have worked for or dealt with that make billions but squander a ton of that on stupid things and then they complain about paying employees an extra $5/hour. What the heck. Stop paying dumb execs millions in bonuses when they can’t even do the job (I’m looking at you VPs of technology but have no idea what html is) or dumb execs who harass women and then the company has to pay out millions.

  69. I never tip anyone in hotels. Only at a bar or restaurant. A buck a drink at the bar and 10%-15% in a sit-down restaurant (nothing for a buffet).

  70. Stop
    Please stop
    Come on Man…
    If anyone thinks a hotel pays housekeeping a fare wage, stop reading.
    As an octengenerian shared with me, our recognition of a person making my day better…
    I leave a tip.
    And I feel I could always do more.

  71. The tipping culture is one of the most despised exports from (North) America! Fine, do it in your home country if that’s considered to be a pervasive aspect of your culture, but don’t force it on the world or ruin it for everyone else from cultures/countries where tipping is not the norm. In some places, such as Japan and Singapore, it is just downright disrespectful. Follow local customs and don’t assume it is standard practice worldwide.

  72. I always tip. Not much, but $5 a night. If taking the Green Choice, $5 at the end. I always travel with my backpack (I use it for my computer, cords, etc.), and I have 2 envelopes in it. One for $1’s and another for $5’s. I get $200 in 5’s and $50 in 1’s when I restock. I always have tip money for shuttles, hotels, etc. I have gotten so many thank you notes from maids. I had another one in my room when I got back from work just tonight. $5 lousy bucks made someone’s day…and I am thrilled to be able to do it. I will still eat and make my mortgage payment…I believe it is the right thing to do and frankly, it makes me feel good. Money well spent!

  73. @beachfan — I tip doormen because I know they work off of tips; the same with waiters and valet. Plus I find tipping bellmen and doormen well always makes my stays that much easier. I’m extremely generous with my money, but it’s the principle of the matter that irks me when now I must add housekeepers to all the other people I’m already tipping.

    If you’re charging me $1200 for a 3 night stay, then I shouldn’t have to worry about tipping your housekeepers. There’s enough we get overcharged for at hotels already, and now you want to add housekeeping tips to it.

    Tips are for doing something exceptional. When you’re staying at a $400 a night hotel, a cleaned room is what I part of what I paid for. There’s nothing exceptional about doing your job.

  74. I always leave $5 a day, no matter what. I’ve always found the front desk helpful in making change for me to I have the proper denomination ($5) for each day. Room service is usually very good and I much appreciate the service I am provided.

  75. To those asking about receipts, many employers don’t require receipts for expenses under a certain amount; I know of many companies that don’t require receipts for expenses < US $25, so tipping is never an issue when it comes to reimbursement.

    I always leave US $5/night at US hotels. While I can claim it as an expense, I don't, as I get compensated fairly enough to cover it, and more importantly my time is better spent doing other things than adding on line items for the number of nights of a trip/tips.

    Note that my time being better spent doing other things than adding line items for the number of nights of a trip is less a statement about my salary as much as an indictment about the system we have to use for expense reporting.

  76. Did I read that right? NYC housekeepers make an average of $29.41 per hour? I had no idea they were making that much. That’s over $50,000 per year for a job that requires no education and minimal skills. Sounds like more than a fair wage to me.

  77. @Lillian If you can pay $1200 for a hotel room, can’t you spare a few dollars for the lowest earners in the hotel. They might not even earn $1200 in a month. How would you like to earn less than $15,000 a year?

    What does a waiter, valet, or bellman do for you? Hotel cleaners clean your toilet and your bodily fluids. The only difference with tipping hotel cleaners that it is done in private. Surely they are worth a few extra dollars that mean nothing to you. Show them some dignity and appreciation. It means a lot to them.

  78. I think I base whether to tip housekeeping or not based on a combination of factors. One factor is the duration of my stay and if I am a routine guest of that hotel, and also if I (or we) were “needy” during the stay. If we often asked something and the staff accommodated it without a problem and without an attitude this would be a factor, too. If it was just a basic cleaning of the room and I only stayed there once for a couple of days, then I wouldn’t bother.

  79. I’m honestly struggling to recall a time where a hotel room was cleaned to my standards. That said, I do tip (usually just on the first night) if I think they’ve done a generally acceptable job.

    Sometimes I’ve left notes to ask for a particular thing to be cleaned more thoroughly… but it’s been hit and miss. That’s fair enough in a way though, because you can never really guarantee they understand English.

  80. $5.00 a day. Housekeepers have the hardest and probably least appreciated job in a hotel.

    For what they do, they are underpaid.

    Yes, the employer SHOULD just pay them more, but that is not how capitalism works. The game in the U.S. is that the burden is placed on the customer to supplement their income.

    My opinion is that those who don’t want to tip shouldn’t come to the U.S. and/or shouldn’t stay in hotels.

  81. @cathy b – But that’s my point. They’re NOT the lowest earners in the hotel. Housekeepers make living wages, unlike waiters who are legally allowed to be paid less than minimum wage and make their income from tips.

    I’m a PR professional. The first time I heard about tipping housekeepers was in an article where the hotel manager of the hotel being interviewed was encouraging guests to do so. As a PR person, I know such comments aren’t random.

    If housekeepers begin getting tipped like waiters, the hotel can then decide to reduce their salary, using their getting tips as excuse. This is what I meant by subsidizing their income.

    If that same manager was so concerned about housekeepers earning more, then perhaps he would share some of his astronomical salary to ensure his housekeepers don’t need to look at guests for tips. I am strictly speaking about high end hotels.

    Now, getting off my soap box, I will admit to having left tips for housekeepers before, but only those who’ve gone above and beyond. In that, I look at tipping as my saying thank you for doing more than was required.

    But to expect me to tip just because you cleaned my room (as something I expect for the price I’m paying for the room) I think is absurd.

  82. I’m always amazed at travelers who always tip valet drivers (usually male) for taking 5 minutes to park a car but don’t tip housekeepers (usually female) who spend much longer cleaning a room. My former employer would reimburse valet tips but not housekeeping until I fought to get the policy changed.

  83. Wow, the tipping rate is so low.

    I travel between 210-250 days annually and usually stay at cheap places like Hampton Inns and Holiday Inn Express. I frequently participate in Greener Stays or put up my DND sign until check out. However, upon check out, I always leave at least $5 even though it’s not a reimbursed expense. My mom used to wait tables and I know how much tipping means to the housekeepers.

  84. I too am not against tipping, but it’s just impossible to have $1 bills every day. Actually we really don’t have much source for $1 bills any more! I’ll consider tipping if it can go digital…

  85. @Lilian, I’m guessing you weren’t aware that many NYC doormen make a comfortable 6-figure income precisely because of getting tipped $1-$5 for hailing a taxi. Which takes minimum effort. This well-known dynamic has been going on for decades but no reduction in salary has occurred for doormen.

    On the other hand, the maid does filthy tasks that NOBODY wants to do, gets paid far, far less, and gets stiffed on tips for a task that takes a heck of a lot more time than going outside and raising a hand. It’s, sometimes literally, crappy work.

    Seems to me that you only want to tip in situations that are public, so people will be impressed with you, but not in private to someone who won’t sing your virtues.

  86. @gadfly – no, it’s not about being publicly praised. I tip people who go above and beyond for me, not people who are doing things that is part of their job, and part of what I’m already paying for by virtue of how much I’m paying for the hotel room.

    I have an apartment in NYC, so it’s not NYC hotel doormen I’m tipping.

    By the way, if you do a quick Google search on how much housekeepers make at high end hotels, you’ll discover my not tipping them for doing their job is not taking food out of their children’s mouths.

  87. ” Even sandwich shops do that now. ” – No I refuse to tip at sandwich shops or coffee shops. I see the tip jars but I am not paying extra on top of the absurd amounts I am already paying. Its got to stop at some point. Nobody tips me in my job why should I pay their salaries. That sandwich shop thing just pisses me off. That being said I leave behind money for housekeeping if I have cash on me as long as I stayed more than one night. If I only stay one night I do not tip because they were making up the room anyway.

  88. @JoeChin13 agreed. There is nothing worse than people tipping in countries where it is not part of the culture. Its gotten to the point in parts of Asia where if I stay at certain western owned hotels the staff makes me feel pressured to tip. People should learn about the culture they are travelling to and adjust accordingly.

  89. I tipped my park ranger in Virunga National Park. He put his life on the line to protect me and he makes minimal income. That is a tip well deserved and a service infinitely appreciated.

  90. Tipping even $2-$3/day can make an enormous difference in housekeepers’ lives. If you want to find out for yourself, leave a coupla bucks daily along with a quick written thank you using only the notepaper & pen provided in the room, & you will likely receive a heartfelt and grateful response back. It’s the season of giving – try it and see what happens, you might continue the practice year round!

  91. @1KBrad if we want to make this an argument about helping subsidize the housekeeper’s wages because they don’t make enough, then do you tip the workers at fast food places when they give you your food? Do you tip the cashier at the grocery store for ringing you up and bagging your groceries? Do you tip the salespeople in clothing stores for helping you find clothes?

    This is a silly argument. Why should I tip the housekeeper when I’m paying the hotel grandly for the privilege of staying there AND –wait for it– having a clean room each night of my stay?

    I happily, and generously, tip waiters, valet, bellboys, doormen, and concierge for the things they do for me to make my stay or my meal lovely. And yes, concierge, because I’ve been known to take upwards of an hour of their time to help me draw out an itinerary in whatever new country I’m in.

    I draw the line at housekeepers because it is the hotel’s job to pay them well. I pay the hotel enough so they can.

  92. 3 of us stayed at a 5* in Boston and I didnt leave a tip.
    I noticed I was charged an extra $200 a few weeks later.
    When I rang and asked what the charges were for they said they
    audio system or similar ( cant remember ) was missing !
    I said I never took anything but of course had no way of proving this.
    I now presume housekeeping took it as their tip.
    What to do ?? I live in Dubai so too far to travel to dispute it.

  93. After finding out that the average wage of a NYC housekeeper is 29.41 an hour or more than 50K a year, I am even less inclined to tip them. That’s the starting salary of a college professor with a PH.D in Mathematics who will never get any tips. Tipping is for waiters who make $2.50 an hour, not someone who makes $30 an hour.

  94. I’m fascinated that any post on tipping gets a huge number of comments. I’m European, so the American tipping obsession fascinates and amuses me – after all, Quentin Tarantino used it at the start of Reservoir Dogs to establish character… why is it such a huge deal for Americans? Not the tipping itself, but the agonizing? Is it a desire to be seen to be doing the “right thing” or something more sinister:))?

  95. The difference between tipping and bribery is that tipping is a kindness and bribery is a crime. I leave $5 a night to be kind to people who have difficult jobs and earn a lot less money than I do.

  96. @quynh – you stay 250 nights in s hotel room?I️ feel sorry for you. Not Brin an ass but that’s 3/4 of the year.

  97. I️ also don’t understand Europeans fascination with tipping. Most restaurants don’t also charge 18 bucks for a hamburger. You get it coming or going. Your choice. Tip by choice or by food price. It’s all the same.

  98. @cls… you try to live in NY on $29 an hour. That $60K per year is below the poverty level in NYC and a number of other places in this country. It might sound nice but your housekeeper is probably getting up at 3am and riding a bus from New Jersey for two hours to get to work and clean your room.

    I think the real reason most of you don’t tip housekeepers and DO tip bellmen, doormen and waiters is that they’re standing in front of you. The housekeeper is invisible to you but works his or her butt off to keep the hotel clean. I don’t care if your employer pays for your tips. If you’ve got a job that has you traveling 100 nights a year, you can afford $200-$300 a year in tips.

    Most of us here are far more privileged than any hotel housekeeper. So share your wealth a bit even if you don’t ‘feel’ wealthy. And while you’re at it, ignore those stupid ass cards that say “leave your towels on the floor.” Pick up your wet towels and put them on top of the toilet or the side of the tub. How you would you like bending down all day every day picking up towels off the floor? Save the poor housekeeper’s back.

  99. Just goes to show. Whiners do not like to tip. How shocking.

    I want to thank the person who does not visit the USA because of the possibility of leaving a tip.

    On Frontier the drink and food tablet that the flight attendants use does ask if you want to leave a tip when you swipe your card. Who keeps the tip? Bill Franke probably steals it.

  100. @Shawn It’s not all the same. When people “tip by food prices, rather than by choice”, then waiters would not feel cheated when they get stingy customers. Also, they would not be able to cheat on their taxes, which is unfair to the other taxpayers. And why on earth should we tip a NYC housekeeper who makes $30 an hour after paying $350 a night for a basic room?

  101. Tipping culture is horrible. When in the US I might tip $1-3 bucks for meals but thats it. Ask for more $ from your employers.

  102. @AD A lot of people live in NYC and, make 60k or less and don’t get any tips. And some of them have more skills and education than a housekeeper.

  103. Almost a decade ago, I was an intern at a hotel and had to pretty much do all the jobs. A housekeepers job is amongst the most difficult one out there. If any one deserves a tip, it is them. I almost always leave a tip for the house keeping staff.

  104. In some hotels in India, there is a message in the room asking guests not to tip directly to the staff, but rather place it in a gratuity envelope and to be handed to the reception at check-out. This is quite smart – the tip will be distributed equally among the concerned staff. I always thought about people who work in the back-end – like the bed sheet cleaners?

  105. I tried leaving $3 tip in a hotel last time I was in the US, but they didn’t seem to appreciate the $3 bill.

  106. I work in Finance and we had this conversation at work a few weeks ago. I see all travel expenses and only one person tips. So out of the 20 or so people who are regularly traveling at my company, 1 person tips and its someone who is on the older side – we were talking about it maybe being a generational thing.

    I personally don’t tip. I feel like I don’t ask for anything extra and am probably a fairly easy guest so what I need should be covered in the hotel cost. I don’t make a mess, I clean up after myself (i.e. no trash lying around) and keep my things fairly organized (so it should be simple to do my room). If I was traveling with kids or a dog or my room was very well used, then I would consider tipping.

  107. So basically you’re saying “look at me, aren’t I great because I tip the person who cleans my hotel room?!”

    Have some modesty…

  108. the entire concept of tipping has gone over the top…the moment one steps out of the house for either business or travel…there is expectations. Hotels are shameless, order room service…and there is a surface…yet one needs to tip. How much a business pays their employees is not my problem…i just want a product and a final price. the hotel needs to include all tips and trophies in their price. Recently, i was at the Oberoi hotel in New Delhi…awesome hotel…and they are signs discreetly placed all over the hotel to not tip the staff. When one leaves the hotel, one has the option of placing a tip in an envelope that is then shared by all the staff…period..and perfect.

  109. So, if, out of principal, you tip the person who cleans your room because they work hard and don’t get paid much, how much do you slip the person who you pass by who’s mopping the hotel lobby floor? Or the maintenance guy who comes to fix your tv?

  110. One of my first trips to the US I stayed in a hotel in NYC for 2 weeks. I was saving quarters for the laundry and left them on the desk in my room. Came back one night and they were gone – about $3 worth. I thought it had been stolen by the maid because I had no idea they thought it was a tip … If you don’t living in a tipping culture, you can’t understand one.

    Oh and @Lisa – stay classy.

  111. The US tipping culture is just ridiculous nowadays. I can sympathize with the tough conditions of service workers, but not paying the upfront price always feels like a scam to me. Why would I tip a taxi driver if they are the one setting the price? I get that fares may be locally regulated, but that’s not really the passenger’s concern. I’ve been to San Francisco recently and I was taken aback by some of the restaurants’ practices – one place in Fishermen’s Wharf not only has a minimum spend requirement, but also shamelessly adds 5% on top of your bill to ‘meet SFO wage requirements’. Oh and you’re still expected to tip 15–20% after that. It’s like saying: we’re being complete jerks to our employees, so here, dear customer, you take care of that. Oh and the listed prices on the menu are a complete lie, sorry.
    We did still leave a $20 housekeeping tip for 9-night stay, though that seemed like the only one that was truly earned (even if one really doesn’t need fresh sheets every day). That being said, I’d wish the hotel would just factor that into the upfront rate and be done with it.

  112. Good post with lots of interesting, informative feedback. I try to leave a tip for housekeepers if the room is clean.

    I often wonder some CEO’s do not share the profits of a company; in a good year when a profit is made why don’t they share the profits especially with the people doing the front-line work? On one hand these CEO’s preach about about the importance of working hard and, then, when/if profiits come, in these profits are not shared..

  113. Hi, thanks for addressing this point. I do tip housekeepers, leaving the tip on the desk before I live. My view is that I want to encourage housekeepers in seeing their work as « making my stay comfortable and enjoyable », not only vacuing and making my bed. This is how I see it.

  114. I always carry $2 bills and I leave one every morning by the TV – I’ve been told by housekeepers they love the $2 bills because beside being a tip they are a novelty.

    I also carry $5 Starbucks cards and if I get some kind of out of the ordinary service I give one to the FA. If I’m flying on a holiday (like Xmas day) I’ll give one to the whole flight crew just because they are away from their families on a holiday (I’ve been told by FAs that they won’t eat food given to them, but every airport has a Starbucks).

  115. “I often wonder some CEO’s do not share the profits of a company; in a good year when a profit is made why don’t they share the profits especially with the people doing the front-line work? On one hand these CEO’s preach about about the importance of working hard and, then, when/if profiits come, in these profits are not shared..”

    The good news is that when the teabaggers finish ramming through their tax increase on the middle class to fund the tax decrease on the 1% and businesses, 70% of the tax decrease on businesses will trickle down to the workers in the form of increased wages. We know this because the teabaggers tell us so. So wages!

  116. I suggest you non-tippers read Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed”. Unless you totally lack empathy, my guess is that you will start tipping.

  117. Lucky lots of comments, I think we should leave a tip they are underpaid and under appreciated. I agree 5 bucks for suite, I also think @Andrew your tips are usually reimbursed I know mine were and I worked for several companies.

  118. French guy in the UK. Your whole tipping culture alienates me every time I travel to the US. Even the service charge in the UK makes me go crazy (Who would go to the restaurant without expecting service? In France it’s always included in the price).

    It’s never even crossed my mind… Now I’m going to feel guilty if I don’t. Thanks Lucky!!

  119. I don’t think many people tip housekeepers in my area, so I feel good leaving a small tip, usually $2. We are not that well off, but this amount is not something we will miss, and it may make a big difference to someone who is poorly paid. As others have pointed out, housekeeping is not a fun job, and is a personal service. I was in the service industry when I was single, and I try to tip when I receive a service, not when I order at the counter and serve myself.

  120. We once left a tip in a hotel and it was still there when we returned to the room. That housekeeper evidently did’t know it was for her. Left a note with our tip the next day!

  121. I really do appreciate good service at a restaurant, in a hotel, or at my bank. Nowhere else in the world is there such an expectation to tip someone regardless (or in spite of) of the service received. Leaving $5/day for a housekeeper fails to do a reasonable job is just plain crazy. Dropping 20 or even 10 percent on a waitperson who isn’t quick, attentive, and accurate is simply dumb. I appreciate the fact that wait people and hotel staff are often not well paid, but simply, that’s not my problem -any more than what I make is the responsibility of the hotel or restaurant. There are two other reasons why I refuse to tip ANYTHING unless the service is exceptional: 1- These folks should do their jobs at least at a mediocre level because it’s what they are paid to do; 2- My leaving extra money for perfunctory or bad service simply perpetuates a ridiculous US practice and provides no incentive for lazy workers. On the other hand, it someone truly goes out of his/her way to do a superb job, or is just super friendly, I am happy to generously tip. I agree with KeepingItReal; The CEO’s of companies who are paid 7 figures are the ones who should be subsidizing THEIR employees.

  122. @AD: I understand your comments but that they live in NYC is not the issue. What is at issue is that these folks are being paid $50K per year to clean toilets and empty garbage cans. A $50K wage is more than fair (more than fair, actually), for tasks such as those. If they choose to live in NYC with its very high costs, that is not my problem and it should not be on the shoulders of the guests to help them live better or easier.

  123. I simply hate this tipping culture. I’m not incline to give more for people who are simply doing their job.

    I do tip well occasionally for exceptional service, however that’s more of a reward, not expectation.

  124. I stay in the same Hilton for 3 nights most weeks, and generally the same suite. I always leave a tip each day for the maid and a note, and she leaves me a nice note back. Each night in the executive lounge I give a tip to the hostess – the service is always consistently good. I buy Christmas gifts for reception staff and go out with the team for leaving parties and buy them drinks. In relative terms it is really not a lot of expense but that is not the point – the hotel have looked after me very well for the last 5 years and so I don’t want to do my bit to show I appreciate all they do.

  125. Error – I should have said “just” rather than “don’t” in the last sentence of my post!

  126. ” The US has a totally different system which I understand can be used to justify the need to tip people who are not paid a proper wage. ”

    Why do so many people think housekeepers don’t get paid a proper wage? In cities like SF, a FT housekeeper with experience can make $16-20/hr + any tips. That’s ~$40-50k/yr + benefits for someone with no education, no real (previous) skills required – just show up on time and do your job – no different than a cashier or a grocery clerk. And the good ones can and do work their way into hotel management over time and a 6 digit salary. Housekeepers are not like restaurant workers that frequently get only $2.17/hr + tips in the US. Even in low cost of living areas with higher unemployment, housekeepers are making at least $10/hr (at least the decent ones are) or much higher. Trust me, I know. I have hundreds of hotel P&Ls to review each month. Single biggest wage pressure we have right now are housekeepers labor costs going through the roof.

    If you are going to tip, generally is better to do it daily as your housekeeper can and will change from day to day.

  127. @cls if you believe that low wage earners like housekeepers “choose” to live in an expensive place like NY you are truly out of touch. More than half of the US population couldn’t raise $2000 to deal with an emergency. Do you think that low wage earners can afford the costs of moving? First month’s rent, last month’s rent, sometimes a deposit as well. The cost of moving everything they own, all to move away from their entire support system to a lower cost location where they have to hope they can find a job.

    Low wage earners in high cost areas frequently live there because they have no choice. People who make a fair bit of money can choose to move away from a high cost area — maybe even get an employer to pay — but not these folks. Most of them are stuck.

    In addition, while you may feel like it’s “not your problem” that they “choose” to live in a high cost area, it’s going to be your problem if all the housekeepers, waiters and busboys suddenly figure out how to move to a lower cost area and there is no one to host your fancy vacation.

    No wage below the local poverty line is “more than fair” for any work. It is however the wage employers can get away with paying because someone will work for it. And they don’t pay less because they can’t hire for less. It’s called supply and demand. The supply of low wage workers disappears at too low of a wage for the local market because someone else offers a higher wage and scoops them up.

    So you go right ahead believing that unskilled workers who make $60K/year in one of the most expensive cities in the world don’t deserve your tips because they make too much money. I hope that if you fall on hard times people are more kind to you than you are to the housekeeper cleaning up after you.

  128. Regardless of your views on tipping housekeepers, being expected to tip the wait staff in a restaurant 15-20% or more is ridiculous. If I spend $200 on a meal in a nice restaurant (including overpriced drinks/wine), there’s no way that the waitress/waiter deserves $30-40+ for the services provided. A flat $5 or $10 would provide the person with good pay, even assuming that the restaurant only paid them minimum wage. A waitress at my local Denny’s probably works harder to make a tip of $4-5 per table. Workers at nicer restaurants aren’t doing anything special to deserve the higher tips.

  129. @AD:

    “In addition, while you may feel like it’s “not your problem” that they “choose” to live in a high cost area, it’s going to be your problem if all the housekeepers, waiters and busboys suddenly figure out how to move to a lower cost area and there is no one to host your fancy vacation. ”

    I would assume that hoteliers would then have to pay said housekeepers etc more and would pass the charge on to their customers (or maybe even lower their margins)… you know, how businesses are supposed to work.

    This, rather than expecting customers to pay their staff directly because they aren’t willing to pay a living wage.

    I think I’ll stick to the UK method of tipping. Generously for exceptional service, absolutely nothing for someone doing their job as expected of them.

  130. I try to to tip $2 per day at motels, under $100 per night and $3 for over $100 per night. I usually double the amount if there are 2 of us. I don’t ever take the green thing. I also travel to Vegas a lot and if the room is comped, I still tip using the guideline I stated. In Asia, where service is attached to my bill, I do not tip.

    Eric’s story can apply to many of my family members who put themselves thru college waiting tables. As far as people criticizing Americans for tipping, we tip for good service. If you don’t want to tip, when in America, then don’t come.

  131. @JohnB: I’ve been in America enough to know that staff get tipped for awful service too. Wouldn’t have an issue if it was only good service or better being tipped.

  132. Wow Ben, tipping brought alot of responses.
    I wondered why we tip some and not others. If we tip a teacher, it could be considered a bribe, right?

    Lived in Asia once. In a hospital, if I wanted to get something, you need to tip. However, it is not the nurse, that would be illegal, but they had other women there, I suppose we’d call candy stripers of a different kind, those you tip to get anything, hot water, extra pillow, etc…

    Above all, tipping must be earned. Just like that driver in Israel for you. He didn’t go where you wanted to go, he went where he wanted to go. No tip, perhaps a discount was in order as he failed and you were displeased.

    Housekeepers should be paid properly, same as waiters/waitresses. They should not rely on tips to make that minimum wage. After all, do we get bonus pay at our jobs to meet our salary, no we don’t usually as it is a bonus above our salary.

    If I don’t receive the service, I’ll keep the change and save it, maybe I’ll find someone in need and spread some goodness there.

  133. “Housekeepers should be paid properly, same as waiters/waitresses. They should not rely on tips to make that minimum wage.”

    They should, but they aren’t.

    Our system, like it or not, is that the customers make up the difference. If you don’t, you are just hurting the employee.

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